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September 16, 2014

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W.”: the soundtrack

This Friday, "W.," director Oliver Stone's much-talked-about bio-pic about George W. Bush, opens everywhere (even Las Vegas!), with Josh Brolin starring as the 43rd president. And while I haven't seen it yet, I thought it would be fun to check what's on the soundtrack.

One song that's noticeably missing on the soundtrack album is the Talking Heads track "Once In A Lifetime," which gives the extended movie trailer a lot of its wallop. Underscoring scenes of Bush's, um, rise to power, David Byrne yelps: You may find yourself... in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife... and you may ask yourself, 'Well ... how did I get here?

1. War Introduction (from the "W." original film score Paul Cantelon)

2. The Whiffenpoof Song (performed by the Collegians Male Chorus)

3. Claudette (Roy Orbison)

4. Chattahoochee (Alan Jackson)

5. Shotgun Boogie (Hank Thompson)

6. Bayou (Paul Cantelon)

7. Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys (Willie Nelson)

8. Wasted Days and Wasted Nights (Freddy Fender)

9. Delta Waltz (Paul Cantelon)

10. Robin Hood (Dick James with Stephen James and His Chums)

11. Deep In The Heart of Texas (Gene Autry)

12. The Differencemaker (Paul Cantelon)

13. What A Wonderful World (Eddy Arnold)

14. Yellow Rose Of Texas (Mitch Miller)

15. War (Paul Cantelon)

16. I'm Winging My Way Back Home (The Blackwood Brothers)

17. With God on Our Side (Bob Dylan)

Reviews are starting to pop up everywhere; I liked this one by gossip columnist Liz Smith, who is not a movie critic, but is a native Texan:

The odd thing to me is how effective this film is. I was sure it wouldn't be, because we are so drastically overfamiliar with recent events harking back to 2001. But the aura created by re-creation of these disastrous years is part of the "charm." One's recognition turns it into something like a too-well-remembered, really scary folk tale. I have to say the movie is very compelling, funny, horrible, accurate, well-done and, yes, entertaining.

I highly recommend Oliver Stone's "W." It is another in the reminders he keeps offering this country. Maybe he's just making movies for profit and for the hell of it. But I think he is becoming a historian.

Leaving the screening room, I found myself haunted by an uncertain depression. I had really liked the movie, but I hadn't needed to see it to remember the downward spiral of the Bush administration. So why my uneasy feeling? I guess the past was prologue.

Inescapably, I remembered America's dire financial straits, which came on as suddenly as the flat-out failure of the war in Iraq came to the Bush situation room. The current tragic state of Wall Street is just a P.S. to this movie. There is all that same lack of oversight, incaution, impulsiveness and raging overspending, un-realistic certainty, crass ambition and moral turpitude where nobody can even say they are sorry over what they have wrought.

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